Social media has been a hard pill for me to swallow. I didn't sign up for facebook until The Louise Log was going onto its 8th or 9th episode. A year later, already feeling overwhelmed by just two fb accounts, Mary Jander browbeat me into signing onto twitter.
But social media looks like so much fun! How could it be difficult!
One of the main problems is my 'personality'. As best as I can analyze it, there are four main qualities necessary for success at social media. None of them is my strong suit.
1. Faith that you'll get what you so richly deserve (gives you the ability to be Cool, the sine qua non of a public persona, on social media and beyond)
2. Self-acceptance (makes it possible to write about deeply embarrassing personal experiences and insights which are, apparently, all anyone wants to hear)
3. Self Discipline (keeps you from going down every interesting rabbit hole you come across)
4. Executive Function (keeps you on track and on schedule - more on this another day)
So? Enough of the bad news. What do we do now? Take heart fellow anxious-isolaters, there's no need to despair. Twitter and a lot of the new social media platforms (looking at you Snapchat) are about having a conversation. Even we, insecure in groups, can talk to one person. Stephen Dimmick generously explained this fine point to me years ago: Do not broadcast. Twitter is not a billboard. Have a conversation.
But here's the $64,000 question: how do you have a conversation and feel a connection when you're writing to (a majority of) faceless 'imaginary friends'? I stumbled onto a low-tech hack: imagine you're talking/writing to one specific friend when you're writing a post.
In a recent conversation, Mhairi Morrison mentioned that before getting on twitter, she had gotten some help from a book (!). I promptly rushed out and bought myself a brand new Second Edition of this one, The Twitter Book co-written by @SarahM whom I remember from my earliest days on twitter. In spite of being somewhat outdated, it's a treasure trove of helpful hints.
A number of people have been critically helpful in helping me get as far as I have with all of this. Being off in the Southern Hemisphere about 30 hours from my desk, off the top of my head I'm only able to properly acknowledge these social media mentor-aces (in chronological order of their help) Thank you for your patience and your generosity! Victoria Trestrail, Leah Jones, Molly D. Campbell, Alexandra Rosas, Sidneyeve Matrix, Stephen Dimmick, Mudd Lavoie, Mhairi Morrison and Veronica James. My apologies to others whom I've momentarily forgotten.